An exchange was set up between students at Coventry University and students in Mexico City.
It was agreed that students would discuss themes and topics they were interested in and could choose to do so in English or in Spanish and English, or in Spanish/English and French.
The students at Coventry University were on the first year of undergraduate degrees in English and Languages, while the students in Mexico were learning English and were taking a variety of degrees.
Intercultural Communicative Competence tasks were discussed, agreed and proposed to the student participants in trilingual format (Spanish/English/French), but students had the choice to design/choose their own tasks, and could post responses/comments in whichever language(s) they wanted to use.
Students also had the option to design their digital learning objects in English or in English/French and Spanish (languages taught in the two institutions).
Students collaborated online in a dedicated Moodle VLE area to discuss topics of common interest and then the Coventry students designed a hypertextual digital group project (a learning object) and presented it to their peers and tutors both face-to-face (at Coventry) and online (in Moodle). The portfolio Mahara wasthe e-platform of choice to design and deliver the project.
The distinguishing feature of the project was that students could negotiate the themes amongst themselves before finalising their choices.
Some guidance was however provided initially by tutors on what could be discussed.
Institution reporting the task:
Language of task instructions:
References and acknowledgements:
Culture, society, festivals, life at university
Students and Staff at the partner University in Mexico City, students and staff at CU, Teresa McKinnon at Warwick University (this task was designed as part of a Teaching Collaborative Grant with funding allocated by the Higher Education Academy, with Warwick as a partner institution), the Higher Education Academy.
In academic year 2013-2014 the exchange was carried out with the Universidad de Monterrey (UDEM)
Language(s) that the task can be used in:
Dominant language production:
Specific pedagogical objectives:
|Development of students interest in cultural similarities and differences|
|Development of students understanding of the role of different contexts|
Suggested Communication Tools:
Some students from our partner University in Mexico are planning to come to Coventry. Create a web-based English guide (a learning object) to Coventry for them using the Mahara e-portfolio. The guide must include both academic and non-academic information. You need to consult the students from Mexico on its design via Moodle MexCo (international exchange) and provide examples of how their input informed your project. You may include jointly created blogs in the project and discuss what you learnt from the experience. You will also need to keep an individual reflective record of your intercultural exchange (in terms of personal feelings, new knowledge and actions that stemmed from it) using the Mahara Project Journal tool.
N.B. Following the students' postings in the Moodle forumit was decided to add the followingintructions, as they appeared to be interested in thecultural and folklore eventsthat were happening in November.
In the next couple of weeks there are events in the cultural calendars of both countries that have their own particular customs associated with them, and their own interesting stories behind them. We’ re talking about El Día de los Muertos, on 1st November, and Guy Fawkes Night, on 5th November. Halloween on 31st October could also be covered even if in both countries it is linked to customs that originated in the U.S.A.
Tell the other students in Britain or Mexico about these events – you can inform them about things that probably most people don’ t know about and help them become more knowledgeable about the world.
- What happens on these days? What do people do?
- What’ s the story behind these commemorations?
- Do you do anything special with your friends? What do you do? Can you post some photos in the MexCo online exchange and describe and explain them?
Document related to the task:
Criteria for Completion:
Lessons learnt: tutors can provide initial task direction, but it is fascinating to see how students take ‘ the lead’ in the choice of cultural themes to cover (e.g. from the suggested theme of Halloween to the novels by Stephen King in the learning objects)
Also, very positive feedback from the Mexican participants that the experience had been an eye-opener with reference to the English they could learn from students based in the UK as opposed to the English contained in their textbooks in Mexico: e.g. MexCo es un excelente ambiente para que yo pueda tener contacto con el verdadero ingles y no solo abtracto como en clase (ese es mi personal punto de vista)[online questionnaire Summer 2012]
Comment from one of the Mexican tutors:
Promoting these types of intercultural communication helps students to overcome stereotypes about the cultures where the language they are studying is spoken as a native language and about the people who speak that language. In the case of my students they seem to be more confident using English, they seem to be more motivated because they want to be more fluent so that they can communicate with their new friends in England and in the same way they are happy that they have helped some Spanish students with problems in Spanish. Now learning English has a new meaning for my students because they can see a real purpose in learning this language. They have learned that people in general have similar needs (Email communication, 7/12/2012)
Comments and suggestions: